Surrendering what no longer serves us, and tearing down the wall.

“Remember the emphasis on the heart. The mind lives in doubt and the heart lives in trust. When you trust, suddenly you become centered.” ~ Osho

I have trust issues. Big ones. I hate that I do and I wish that I didn’t, but I accept that it’s something I must work through, to let go of when the time is right, and to be honest with myself and others about.

I don’t remember exactly when or how these trust issues started, but throughout my adult life, inklings of unease have developed into exaggerated and obvious insecurity. I’ve been let down on many occasions, in some pretty powerful, scarring ways, and these situations have surely contributed to my current apprehensive state.

More than once, when I’ve given my heart to another, I have seen the things I cherished very deeply vanish, disappearing right before my eyes and horrified heart, left aghast and in awe of how quickly life can change. Things were ripped from my hands still holding tight to a future I’d dreamt about, to a person I’d selected for a partner, to a grand, great love…

I’ve also been let down by people who promised to help my dreams come true, or who committed to serving as copilot on an upcoming adventure, ensuring I wouldn’t have to face the unknown alone…

Following each disappointment, I molded together brick after brick, created with sticks of anger and stones of sadness and cement resent. I stacked these bricks on the wall surrounding my heart. I slowly and deliberately built a strong and unpenetrable fortress for one. And inside, there I was, making things happen for me, relying only on myself, ensuring that only I could be accountable for my successes or my failures.

 "...If you seek peace, if you seek prosperity, ... if you seek liberalization, ... open this gate. ... Tear down this wall." -- President Reagan to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, urging him to demolish the Berlin Wall.

“…If you seek peace, if you seek prosperity, … if you seek liberalization, … open this gate. … Tear down this wall.” — President Reagan to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, urging him to demolish the Berlin Wall.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always had people in my inner circle, and of course there have always been people who I can rely on, who have always been there in times of crisis, who have always been more than willing to do anything I needed, literally giving me their last dime or shoes from their feet. But for the most part, because of my past experiences, I have maintained sole control and I haven’t expected anything, of anyone, as a means of preventing future letdowns.

This has got to change. I asked the Universe to give me softness just a few months ago, and I’m recognizing that I’m ready to draw this in. I’m ready to emerge from my closed-off castle and I’m ready to welcome in trust and faith.

It’s time to tear down this wall.

The mantra for this morning’s yoga class was, “I am open.” Our yoga teacher, a new dear friend of mine, encouraged us to not only be open to what we can draw into our lives, but also to what we can let go of… to surrender what is no longer serving us.

In past classes, this teacher has talked about how many of our responses — to events in our lives be they positive, negative, or indifferent — are often based on learned reactions from previous experiences, or may even be caused from the stuck energy residue (or toxic ama) in our cells and DNA, passed down from our ancestors. We can reset our response mechanisms, through yoga (practiced while focusing on the chakra system especially), meditation, and conscious effort.

This teacher encouraged us to breathe deeply and say the words “I am open” in our minds as we released the breath. Then, instead of immediately restating the mantra, to let ourselves be void of intentional thought and to see what naturally presents itself in our minds.

On the first release of “I am open,” the words “trust” and “faith” came into my thoughts. I knew right then, that yes, I am ready to let go of this protective barrier around myself and that I am ready to start fresh. I am ready to trust openly, without hesitation and doubt. I am ready to live freely, putting faith in the Universe to handle my hardships and to give and take away as needed. I am ready to release control…

It is time.

Today, I am tearing down the wall and I am emerging from my safe, isolated castle. I am facing the world with an army at my back instead of forcing myself to face the world alone, with only a trusted stallion at my side (whose name is Jax, by the way, and he’s the most loyal golden that ever existed ❤ ).

Doing this can do nothing but help me. Sure, I may face moments of disappointment in the future, but today is a fresh start, just like tomorrow will be, and the day after that. The people and situations in my current life have zero ties to experiences which burned me before, and it’s unnecessary for me to burden others, and limit my own opportunities, by carrying around this baggage. Enough is enough.

Today, I am surrendering what no longer serves me.

Today, I am surrendering my protective barrier of mistrust and isolation.

Today, I am surrendering to softness.

Today, I am…

Today, I am open.

I am ready to let go of this protective barrier around myself and that I am ready to start fresh. I am ready to trust openly, without hesitation and doubt. I am ready to live freely, putting faith in the Universe to handle my hardships and to give and take away as needed. I am ready to release control...

I am ready to let go of this protective barrier around myself and that I am ready to start fresh. I am ready to trust openly, without hesitation and doubt. I am ready to live freely, putting faith in the Universe to handle my hardships and to give and take away as needed. I am ready to release control…Today… I am. 

What is it about the Pacific Northwest?

Me overlooking the Pacific from Cape Perpetua, just south of Yachatz.

Me overlooking the Pacific from Cape Perpetua, just south of Yachatz.

As my friends and I drove south along Hwy 101 from Cannon Beach, I gazed out the car window at the coastline, rocky and majestic with seagreen water and foamy white waves. “I don’t know what it is, but I feel such a strong pull to this area. It’s like I’m meant to be here. I’ve always felt this way, for as long as I can remember at least,” I said.

Cory then asked what I thought to be quite the bizarre question. He said, “Where in your body do you feel it? Physically, what’s pulling you?”

I’d never been asked to describe a physical location for a mental thought, but after a bit of reflection and feeling, it was easy. I knew. “Well, it may sound weird but I think it’s in my chest. It’s my heart.”

—-

I’ve been in Oregon for almost a week now and although I still have yet to process all of the amazing, exciting, awe-inspiring moments, I can 100% say that I love it here. I. Love. Oregon.

As long as I can remember, I’ve had a fascination with and desire to live in the Pacific Northwest. I was born in Eugene but moved to Michigan when I was still quite young. My family and I have travelled back a few times since but this time, I left Michigan to explore this place on my own. The trip has softened a few more layers of my heart and tapped into an even deeper space, filling me with an even greater love for the area.

I don’t know if it’s the depth of the forest green, or the roar of the waves, or the mountains and jagged rocks… The nature is magic. But, this earth is beautiful everywhere really. If we removed our strip malls and parking lots, Mother Nature in her original form is breathtaking. From jungles to deserts to plains to mountains, she’s a beauty.

So then, what is it about the Pacific Northwest that I love so much?

I’m not sure, but I do feel like a child here. My eyes are open and curious, my legs have a little more pep and provide a little more energy, and my heart is simply happy. The forests are really a natural playground!

I just did a bit of research into the heart chakra after thinking about what my friend had asked me (find out more here – fourth chakra – halfway down the page), and it looks like our heart chakra is the joining of our physical and spiritual bodies. It is the place of intuition and love and our connection to nature. It brings a balance to the rest of our chakras, helping us to feel centered and poised for growth.

I think my heart feels pulled here because in the Northwest, not only is the natural world powerful and stunning, the people and the places seem more geared toward peace and positive progress than in many other locations I’ve experienced. Here, I would be, and am, able to use my physical body in a natural space, while emphasizing personal growth and love for others.

Maybe that’s why my heart loves it here and why my heart always feels connected to this space…

Regardless of reason, the love I feel is real and my heart is content. Oregon, I love you. (But hey, Michigan, YOU have my heart, too!)

Here are a few pictures from some hikes I’ve taken the past few days. And, if you ever get a chance to travel westward, come to Oregon. Let yourself be here… And open your heart and see what happens ❤

Zen moment in Punchbowl Falls off the Eagle Creek Trail near the Columbia River Gorge.

Zen moment in Punchbowl Falls off the Eagle Creek Trail near the Columbia River Gorge.

Taking a breather on the Eagle Creek Trail.

Taking a breather on the Eagle Creek Trail.

The Pacific Northwest is FULL of fuzzy trees like this.

The Pacific Northwest is FULL of fuzzy trees like this.

Two friends of mine racing to a lookout at Cape Perpetua. I'm not the only one who plays here :)

Two friends of mine racing to a lookout at Cape Perpetua. I’m not the only one who plays here 🙂

Catching a great silhouette opportunity at Heceta Head.

Catching a great silhouette opportunity at Heceta Head.

The beach at Heceta Head is amazing. Always a favorite spot of mine.

The beach at Heceta Head is amazing. Always a favorite spot of mine.

Moss moss moss everywhere!

Moss moss moss everywhere!

Magical mystical Mother Nature at her finest, showing off in cave form at Heceta Head.

Magical mystical Mother Nature at her finest, showing off in cave form at Heceta Head.

Catching the sunset hiking Angel's Rest just east of Portland in the Columbia River Gorge.

Catching the sunset hiking Angel’s Rest just east of Portland in the Columbia River Gorge.

Playing at Heceta Head beach.

Playing at Heceta Head beach.

Overlooking the gorge from the Angel's Rest hike.

Overlooking the gorge from the Angel’s Rest hike.

Loving life and the Pacific from Devil's Churn next to Cape Perpetua.

Loving life and the Pacific from Devil’s Churn next to Cape Perpetua.

Me and my hiking buddies at Cape Perpetua.

Me and my hiking buddies at Cape Perpetua.

Cannon Beach! Cannon Beach! Cannon Beach! Go here. Just do it.

Cannon Beach! Cannon Beach! Cannon Beach! Go here. Just do it.

Nature wins. Who needs art when we have moss.

Nature wins. Who needs art when we have moss.

A warm late-fall hike near Cannon Beach.

A warm late-fall hike near Cannon Beach.

The Pacific Northwest is magical. This picture is proof.

The Pacific Northwest is magical. This picture is proof.

Four birthday wishes

Today, I turn 27.

On my walk home from work, with Mother Nature in her glory (wind howling, snow racing across the pavement and icy white lawns, the last bundles of leaves still clinging to trees cracking and crunching against each other), tonight I thought of some things I hope to draw into my life. A few birthday wishes for the year…

I have a list of goals I want to accomplish too, things from developing a daily meditation practice and sponging up less of other people’s problems, to paying down my student loans and remembering names (I promise I’m not as rude as I sometimes seem – my memory is just awful!). However, I hope the wishes I developed this evening will subtly morph me into a better person, transforming me into a better me, and bringing me closer to my natural, most complete self. Which hey, has got to be a pretty great thing right?

Here they are.

1) LOVE – I want to love myself, and be in love with myself.

For so many years I’ve let myself be my own worst enemy instead of my biggest fan. Judging, nit-picking, self-destructing… This year, I want to love myself like I love my best friends. I want to respect my body and mind, my wants and needs, and I want to have fun and ENJOY the time I spend with me. “They say” you can’t really love another until you love yourself. I’m not 100% in agreement with this statement, but I know I’ll love another better if I first love and like myself.

2) BRAVERY – I want to be bold and have the courage to take chances.

I’ve always been pretty adventurous, but I’m rarely overly brave with regard to trusting my gut and putting logic to rest in favor of faith. This year, I want to unabashedly run after the things I want, that I feel to be right, that may be scary or unknown but that, if I can muster the courage to take the first step, may help me get to where I need to go.

3) VOICE – I want to speak up, asserting my turn to talk and tell my truths.

Most of my relationships have been 70/30 — I listen more than speak, I sit shotgun more than drive, etc. I’m an empathetic person who wants to soothe and comfort others, always putting my thoughts and feelings aside in exchange for hearing another reveal those very same things, in their very own voice. But this year, I want to speak up and turn the tables and make sure my voice is heard clearly in every situation. In friendships, in initial encounters, in my career. In everything.

4) SOFTNESS – I want to soften my heart and release control.

For at least the past 10 years, I have maintained sole control over my happiness. Even when making plans or daydreaming about the future with another, at some space within myself I never fully bought what we were selling. I was never fully able to trust another person with my future and my happiness. Even on the surface level, with common events, I’ve kept walls up around my heart, always on edge, quick to leap from a situation when the potential for disappointment crept in. This year, I want to soften and allow others in, if they deserve my heart space. I want to make plans that I intend to keep. I want to fully wander into an unknown with another at my side… If and when the time is right.

I’ve asked the Universe to help bring this all into my life. I know she’ll do her part and we’ll work on me together.

I’m a happy birthday girl! 27 is bound to be the best year yet — cheers and positivity to all!

Learning to wait out the storm and find happiness within. Just like the ducks :)

The sun was shining bright this morning as Jax and I walked along the lake. The sun reflected on the water in front of me and beamed on my face, lighting the earth and warming my skin. I felt joy and bliss — it was a perfect morning. I stopped on the trail for a moment, immersing myself in the beauty of it all. I let the sun sink in and fill my whole being with peace. I didn’t care about going anywhere. I was there, and life was glorious. I started to walk again, this time with a little dance in my step, light as air. Happy.

But then, unexpectedly, the clouds rolled in and it started to rain. The sky grew gray and the rain turned to sleet. It pelted my face and made me wince and tuck my head to avoid the sting on my cheeks. I tugged at the bottom of my sweatshirt to help protect my waist and I slid my hands further up into my sleeves. I did what anyone would do that moment — I retreated. My dance was now determined — finish the walk and go home.

As I peered into the water before me, I noticed a bunch of ducks bobbing in the waves. Curious as to how they would react to this change of weather, I stopped to watch them.

They stayed in the water, but they lowered their heads and seemed to retreat into their bodies, into a place of warmth and comfort, just as I attempted to do. Then, they did something I’ve never noticed ducks do before. They disappeared! They tipped forward and dove under the water, but instead of coming back up right away, they stayed gone for quite a while. I was so intrigued by this — who knew ducks could hold their breath for so long. But sure enough, eventually each of the ducks came back up and remained on the water, bobbing in the waves with heads tucked.

And then, almost as quickly as the weather turned sour the sleet lifted to a soft rain, and then after a few minutes, it stopped. The sky brightened and the sun started to shine.

The sky brightened and the sun started to shine.

As I look back through this past year, the situation this morning is quite metaphorical for my life. I too felt the amazing sun shining bright on my face this past winter. I felt the joy and bliss that comes from things going right, from doing good things for myself, the planet, and other people. I explored new places, made new friends, and reconnected with the true essence of myself. I felt the sun shine on my face and I basked in it. I was carefree and I let go of all worries, all plans, all thoughts of a potential storm blowing in…

But then, just like today, the weather turned bad. I became confused. I was lost and worried. I didn’t stick to the plan I’d prepared before the sun started to shine, one that may have helped me when the weather was less than perfect.

I retreated into myself. I went to a place of comfort, surrounded myself with people and places that might protect me from the feelings I felt. But sure enough, I was still facing the pain, the bad weather was still there.

So then, just like the ducks, I disappeared. I dove into new things, new people, played out countless scenarios in my mind that may help me avoid the bad weather not just for now, but for forever. I didn’t want to feel the pain and I was aching for something to pull me out of it. I busied myself the best I could, trying to avoid the bad weather inside of me.

But then, I came to a point of realization as many of us do — even a bunch of ducks facing a sleet storm — bad weather will go away when it’s ready but until then, I would have to face it. I would have to resurface and wait it out.

So I did. I came back up, back into myself and back into the world. I made myself calm my mind and be patient. I waited for the sunshine to come back, having faith that in time, it would.

I let myself feel the pain but while doing so, I made notes of things that I love, that I need, that I want in my life, and I started to make little moves to make those things a part of my life regardless of whether the weather (and my circumstances) is beautiful or not. I started to find comfort in myself and not my surroundings. I came to a point of truth where I learned it’s the inside where happiness lives. Who knows, maybe those ducks floated on the water in bliss despite the sleet. Having wisdom that soon enough, the sun would also shine again.

And it did. On all of us.

After many months and a trying, difficult summer, the sun is shining. Life is good again — I’m back.

I am so grateful for this period of pain and uncomfort because, as I’ve said countless times and written about before, everything is cyclical. This truth was proven once again and I’m grateful for having been reminded of it. I’ve also learned to be patient, to take what’s in front of me and make the best of it. To recognize that things aren’t always ideal, but that with acceptance, peace will come.

And that, my friends, explains why I also disappeared from writing. When I’m at a good place mentally — when I’m happy — I write. When I’m not, I can’t. This summer, I didn’t write, I didn’t paint, I didn’t express myself. But now, I’m back, and I hope to continue sharing bits of this journey with you all. I’m learning many things about this beautiful crazy life, and hopefully you’ll continue to join me.

Peace.

Trust that with acceptance, peace will come.

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